Arrest in Queens Boulevard motel murder

Authorities have arrested the person allegedly responsible for the murder of a Middle Village man found dead inside a Queens Boulevard motel last weekend, said police.

Lleuyel Garcia, 23, of Manhattan, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of 54-year-old Joseph Benzinger, as well as criminal possession of stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the NYPD, at 11:50 p.m., Saturday, February 9, Benzinger was found dead on the floor of a room at the Crown Motor Inn at 74-01 Queens Boulevard.

The Daily News reported that cleaning staff at the $45 per-hour Elmhurst motel discovered Benzinger in the room with a shirt wrapped around his neck.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm along with community leaders, held a press conference Tuesday, believing that the motel murder and other recent killings of gay men may be connected. But NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WCBS 880 that they do not appear to be related.

“”Despite the arrest, it is vitally important that we continue to remain vigilant. The other murders committed against gay men remain unsolved but I am hopeful that the NYPD will capture the perpetrators,” Dromm said Thursday. “Again, I want to urge everyone that it is always important to practice safety whether meeting people online or in person.”